Walt Whitman: baseball reporter


Today baseball’s historian John Thorn tells us about the time the poet Walt Whitman wrote a baseball game story. This one-off affair happened on June 18, 1858 when Whitman wrote an ed­itorial for the Brooklyn Daily Times about a game he witnessed the previous day. The entire column is reproduced, as is a box score, with the notation “H.L.” for “hands lost,” referring to outs made. Which is a thing that should TOTALLY be revived, by the way.

Clearly a different time and a very different game. But the fact that the story focuses on (a) the team winning doing so in part by luck as opposed to being better; and (b) references to numerous injuries which affected the outcome, make it something that could appear just as easily today as it did over 150 years ago.

No references to how today’s modern players aren’t as good as those of the reporter’s youth, sadly. But that’s just because there weren’t any.